Qualcomm used the opening keynote of CES in Las Vegas to officially launch its next-generation mobile processing chip, the Snapdragon 800.
It is super fast and powerful, being quad core and allowing up to 2.3GHz per core. And Pocket-lint has had the opportunity to play with a prototype tablet powered by the new processor.
Headline features are impressive on paper. The Snapdragon 800 is powerful enough to be able to live decode 4K Ultra High Definition (3840 x 2160) video along with 7.1 surround sound at the same time. It is also capable of allowing 4K UHD video recording.
For games, the graphics processing is console-like, and it is expected to be hitting devices in the second half of 2013. However, what do its abilities mean to the end consumer exactly? Thankfully, that's what the 10-inch prototype tablet gives us a taste of.
We played and were shown a modified version of Gameloft's The Dark Knight Rises, which is available for other tablet and mobile devices but not quite in this form. Textures have been dramatically improved and the game runs at 30fps with each frame rendered at 1080p. The prototype tablet has a 1080p screen too, so really showed it at its best. Even when blown up to the size of a 42-inch TV, the graphics were stunning - games console-like.
The same was true with another Gameloft title Asphalt 7, which ran like the clappers. No juddering or dropping frame rates here.
It's not just gaming that Snapdragon 800 benefits, even though the combination of CPU and GPU power combine to create a compelling offering in that field. Video playback of 1080p content is excellent. We saw two clips running side by side encoded in both H.264 and H.265, and the latter clearly shows a smoother frame rate when crunched through the 800.
The tablet itself is unlikely ever to reach market, being just a prototype tool to show what's possible, but Pocket-lint has been told that more than 50 new Android products that feature the chip are planned by multiple partners to come out before the end of the year. A whole stack of high-end devices featuring Qualcomm's other new chipset, Snapdragon 600, will be out in the second quarter of this year.
Interestingly, we have also been told that some of the devices we'll see launched in 2013 - most likely tablets - with have resolutions way above 1080p, in order to make great use of Snapdragon 800's 4K UHD video capabilities. Exciting times.
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